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11 Ways to Revive Company Culture

11 Ways to Revive Company Culture

Uncomfortable small talk during every morning elevator commute, hourly glances at the clock, separation of ideas and opinion with the help of cubicles, and strict managerial politics that just leave employees exhausted and hopeless. These are all common symptoms of a workplace that lacks any shred of company culture. Employees learn from the start that their primary goal in the company is to do what they’re told, praise the master, and go home. Any passions or dreams slowly evaporate leaving an unhappy and hopeless being, questioning their worth and sanity.

I am sure this is a reality for many employees as this mindset still exists in numerous companies around the world. In fact, 70% of workers in the U.S. alone are not experiencing any form of workplace engagement and around 88 percent leave due to this fact.[1] What can we learn from this? How about that salary is not the number one factor that dictates a job seeker’s decision when hunting for a suitable career? A corporate mentality that centers on the idea that employees should just shut up and work does not establish any creative ideas nor give a sense of purpose to employees. It further divides co-workers, provides no opportunity to foster new friendships, and instills fear where there should be freedom of expression.

What’s So Special about Company Culture?

By not taking care of employees’ social and emotional  needs, employers are passing on the message that they are disposable and replaceable. When these beliefs are embedded in an employee, they lack a reason to care about a company that does not care about them.

Our desire for human interaction and belonging should not only be fulfilled in our personal lives, but in our work lives as well, especially since work takes out a good chunk of our day. Come to think of it, don’t you see your co-workers just as much as you see your family or even more so? Open engagement in a work setting is just as important for a functional and rewarding relationship with an employer as it is with a significant other. Engagement is not just about building relationships but includes the ways employers manage people, the state of the workplace, and the type of people being hired.

A research study discovered that investing as little as 10% in strategies that foster engagement can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. Here’s another thing to think about: Companies that foster engaged brand ambassadors in their workforce report an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually per employee, compared to companies with weak engagement efforts, reporting an average of 6.19 sick days. Small improvements in culture can mean a significant increase in production.

How Engagement Can Help Marketing Efforts

Employees are the true marketers of a company, they are the ambassadors who can make social profiles and branding efforts explode.  Companies need to ask themselves – does each employee out of my 50+ workforce know the company’s strategy, products/services, and target market? Can they transmit this message seamlessly to clients and new hires without questioning the validity of their statements? Around 40% of employees in the U.S. have no idea.

If an organization is looking to double their marketing efforts, giving employees the right tools (social accounts) and environment (freedom of creativity), will give them the fuel to post about events, product launches, and company quirks. If they are being pressed down into conformity and creativity is restricted, employers should expect some unpleasant reviews on sites like GlassDoor which could be detrimental to recruiting and sales efforts. After all, customers will value employee opinion above what’s written on a company’s Facebook or LinkedIn profile. Take a look at HubSpot,Avanade, and Twitter for examples of companies that place their employees on their priorities list.

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In addition, company culture lends a helping hand to the marketing department by providing excellent material such as, events, accomplishments, and personal stories that can be used for social posts while taking advantage of employee engagement to further promote current campaigns. Companies who choose to go down the modern path see more than a two-fold increase in revenue compared to competitors living in the dark ages. So what can you do to change your company dynamic around?

How to Sprout Workplace Engagement

Of course not all companies are the same and what one company can afford to allocate to a special budget many not be the case for their neighbor. The suggestions below are merely to show examples of the types of activities and changes an organization can invest in to spin things around within their workplace.

1.   Spread the Word.

Employees must be knowledgeable of all company branding, vision, and goals if organizations want them to effectively transmit this message to outsiders. Have quarterly meeting to keep employees on track of latest news, products, and important marketing campaigns. Ensure the message is consistent across all departments.

2.   New Hire Workshops.

Host events for new hires to meet the team and learn about company vision. These workshops could also include training, health & safety workshops, and presentations. The purpose is to break the ice, find common interests, and encourage engagement and interaction with other employees.

3.   Blow Out the Candles.

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Pick a day out of each month to celebrate those whose birthdays have passed. Buying one cake for everyone will be easy on the pocket and will still make employees grateful for the small gesture. It never feels great when the people you see the most forget about your special day. Everyone wants appreciation- start showing it. Even an email or a handshake is better than nothing.

4.   Outdoor Team Building.

Host yearly company outings for team building workshops. Try rock climbing, obstacle racing, even volunteer opportunities to get the team to work together on a task unrelated to work, helping them to build trust.

5.   Accept Socialization.

Don’t frown upon any interaction that occurs in the office. Work and fear should not be paired together. Further break the barriers of communication by eliminating cubicles and removing head management from isolated offices. This will help decrease the imaginary ranking system in the office, allowing for open communication and networking. Employees will be more likely to ask questions from those who were once disconnected from the rest of the team. Additionally, by removing the superiority complex from head management, employees will begin to feel as if they are all owners of the company, inspiring them to work harder using innovative and cost-saving methods. Look at newly emerging start-ups who are implementing such methods into their workplaces for proof.

6.   Lunchroom Breaks.

Moldy sinks and broken microwaves not only raise the question of health and safety but make it the last place you want to eat lunch or take a break from the stresses of the day. Make sure your cafeteria has comfortable seating and enough utensils to make lunch time more pleasurable. We all work better after a relaxed mental break.

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7.   Let’s Get Moving.

A sedentary lifestyle causes deleterious health consequences and makes it very difficult to work when all you feel is back or wrist pain. No one wants to look like a goofball stretching in the bathroom. If you are in the process of renovating your office, consider creating an exercise room full of yoga balls and mats to provide a comfortable environment for employees to stretch their legs. If you have a gym in the building, offer a discount on gym memberships or offer boot camps that can run during lunch hours.

8.   Everybody Loves Free Food.

How about a free meal once a month? It can be simple as ordering pizza! Employees will appreciate the gesture and it will provide an opportunity to mingle and foster new friendships.

9.   Add Value.

Working full time, and occasionally overtime, interferes with personal goals. By sitting down with each employee, preferably in the beginning of their journey with the company, and creating a list of goals and personal values, employees will stop seeing work as a leech sucking out the life force of each day but will look forward to coming in everyday knowing that they are moving forward in work and personal achievements. With their consent, post some values and goals around the office to help establish a support system for each employee.

10. Holiday Parties.
Dressing up on Halloween, hosting secret Santa for Christmas, or sharing New Years Resolutions – get the team involved in holiday events during lunch time or after work.

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11. Brain-trust Meetings.

We all come from different backgrounds, experiences, and industries hence we can all add a different outlook on an issue if given the chance. Create an open environment where employees are welcome to raise their hands and voices, you will be surprised at the increase of suggestions and solutions.

Cheapness Speaks Louder Than Words

Organizations that follow the old ideology that suggests there is no need to spend extra resources and time on employees will begin to see a drastic decline in performance, and their recruiting department will find it harder and harder to continuously replace the employees that leave to pursue better opportunities. They are also losing their biggest competitive advantage in the business.

Employers need to invest in their people as they are the driving force behind product development and client retention. Employees push the company forward and set goals into action. As a wise individual once said, a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.

Featured photo credit: Employee/ahmad al homaid via flickr.com

Reference

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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